Pontiac puts its faith in the internet

Pontiac has been revamping its brand, cutting the ass-ugly ( Aztek, Montana) and adding the badass ( G8, Solstice GXP). There's a strong desire to shift the median buyer age down. The effort's already underway, and has seen some success thus far, but Pontiac wants the coveted younger buyer. In the interest of getting the Pontiac name in front of their intended buyer, the division is actually cutting back on traditional advertising efforts. Huh? Well, how many 20-somethings do you know who watch Dateline? Right.

Think of it as a one-two punch from Pontiac. The first part is creating compelling product, which we've all been watching intently. The line's been purged of bad ideas, and a strong styling direction has taken hold. Excitement surrounds the launch of the G8 sedan, and the G6 has made us forget all about vehicles like the Sunfire. Okay, the G5 isn't helping matters, but the rest of the lineup is eye-catching and well turned out. Some brand watchers knock Pontiac for not retaining owners over the last ten years, but the brand has undergone some considerable change. We'd expect that buyers turned on by the Trans Sport aren't the same people that get excited by the impending awesomeness that is the G8.

[Source: Advertising Age]

Traditional broadcast media isn't being totally avoided, but Pontiac wants to be part of the content if it's going to be on TV. Witness the tie-in with Jimmy Kimmel, where musical guests are part of a Pontiac-branded showcase. Pontiac also has an ongoing relationship with the NCAA, and they've spread their partnership with college sports across game broadcasts, as well as integrating into the online aspect of those properties. There's an increasing push to an online presence for Pontiac, which is a shrewd move considering how integral the internets are to younger people.

It's really just advertising in a new and emergent medium. Buying banner ads is one thing, but Pontiac's taking an active part in Second Life, as well as a tie in with Halo 3. During the Halo promotion, traffic to Pontiac.com increased twenty percent, indicating that while the advertising budget is down this year, the money is being effectively spent. Now that the model line has generated buzz with impending arrival of what could be a bargain priced Euro-stomper, we'll have to see if it's all enough to turn a decade-long sales slide around.

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